90% of children in Kamoro leave school before completing their education

JUBI, 8 September, 2011

It is estimated that around 90 percent of children from the Kamoro ethnic group fail to continue their education after completing primary school.   There are many reasons for this.

‘Many Kamoro children dont attend primary school and this affects the number who go on to further education as a result of selection and the minimum standards attained by the children,’ said a local official.

This also reflects the situation of the primary school in Mapar, in the regency of Central Mimika where most of the children who attend primary schools fail to continue to the lower secondary schools. The main problem is where the children live.

‘We do everything we can to motivate them and accompany them but for the
parents the main problem is that they cannot find anywhere to live in Timika. And in those cases where children do attend a school in the town, many of them returned home to their kampungs after only two months for a variety of reasons, primarily because of the cost of living in the town.’

Actually, there are indeed many opportunities for Kamoro children in Timika. Freeport Indonesia has built several hostels for primary and secondary school children but there are hardly any Kamoro children living in these hostels.

One secondary school teacher said: ‘There is the problem of looking after the children and the limited capacity available for pupils coming from the Kamar primary school. We very much hope that the education service will appreciate this problem and find a way out as soon as possible, so that these children can grow up to be masters in own land.’

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A number of teachers in the East Mimika district have complained about the lack of facilities for education at primary and secondary schools many of which have nothing in the way of books or writing equipment.

Veronica Lasol, a primary school teacher at the Mapar primary school, complained that the government, in particular the education and cultural service, pay no attention to all this.

‘We have been suffering from a lack of facilities for a long time, and have spoken about this with the media as well, hoping to draw the attention of the government to the problem of paying attention to education facilities for children living in the kampungs,’ she told Jubi.

‘In our district, almost all the schools are functioning without decent facilities and end up teaching the chidren anything they can mange to do so as to ensure that they can complete their primary school education,’ said Agustinus Maniawasi, a primary school teacher at the YPPK primary school in Pronggo, Mimika district.

Similar complaints were made by Denisius Faruan, a primary school teacher at a school in Timika. He said that there is a need for facilities to support the education of the children. If the teachers were to get the necessary training, the complaints would decline. ‘It is all a matter of giving proper attention to the schools that now exist.’

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